A gang member whose drug conviction was overturned as result of the LAPD's corruptioninvestigation said Tuesday that a lieutenant was present when officers set him up and planted drugs on him.
Ruben Rojas, 30, said he has other incriminating information about officers from the Rampart Division, but wants authorities to help lift an immigration hold on him before he provides further details to investigators.
"The things I could tell them about these officers would curl their hair, but they act like they're just not interested," Rojas said in a prepared statement.
One of his lawyers, Dennis W. Chang, said his client has made it clear that he is willing to cooperate with investigators, "but so far they've shown very little interest in where we believe Mr. Rojas can take their inquiry."
Added attorney Gregory A. Yates: "We believe the misconduct goes up the chain of command beyond the streets. That could explain why [investigators] are showing little interest in what my client has to say."
The lawyers want officials from the LAPD and the district attorney's office to intervene with immigration authorities on Rojas' behalf in exchange for his cooperation in the unfolding corruption probe. Rojas and his attorneys offered no proof to back up his allegations.
The district attorney's office declined comment.
Rojas' attorneys said another man in a similar situation was released by immigration officials after local officials prevailed on them. The man, Javier Francisco Ovando, was freed from prison two months ago after former LAPD Officer Rafael Perez told investigators that he and his ex-partner shot the unarmed young man and then planted a weapon on him.
Rojas says he is a material witness to a host of crimes and misconduct by Perez, his former partner Nino Durden and other officers, including a lieutenant whom he declined to identify.
Rojas' 1997 drug conviction was overturned last week at the request of both prosecutors and the defense because the testimony of Perez and Durden was no longer considered reliable.
In a prison interview with The Times last week, Rojas said he was targeted by the officers because he was having sex with one of Perez's mistresses. Perez, however, said he went after Rojas because the gang member was plotting to have him killed, sources close to the investigation said.
Perez's admissions about his own conduct and allegations about that of fellow officers have been fueling the probe, which has led to more than a dozen officers being relieved of duty and to the release of two prisoners.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the mother of a gang member shot to death by Rampart officers in 1996 filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday.